Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Cocks are like buses

Went out for a brief walk at a local nature reserve on Sunday with Jenny and Daisy and after driving all round East Yorkshire on Saturday with one of the main target birds being Woodcock it was probably no surprise that we had one on Sunday too! This bird was giving a nice flyby view which was cool. The site was heaving with Reed Bunting with a few Yellowhammer thrown in for good measure. A Black Swan was motoring about on the water and then a year-tick in the form of a singing Marsh Tit followed us along for a bit as we waded through knee deep mud!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Shag in Beverley (Just for you James!!!)

Saturday was like going back in time as I spent some time driving round the areas in East Yorkshire that I spent 4 years living and birding in. First stop was North Cave Wetlands for the Green-winged Teal, which after a while finally showed itself in amongst the grass on one of the islands. When I used to go birding at this site it was a case of looking through the gap in the hedge trying to avoid getting hit by tractors or boy racers but now there is a car park and some really smart hides and a lot of site improvements for both birds and people! I look forward to returning!!

The drake Green-winged Teal is hidden in the grass, you can just about see the distinctive white line - honest!

On then to Tophill Low Nature Reserve via Beverley, having not returned to the town since I left it in 2004 it was a little strange to be driving round it again! On arriving at Tophill I paid my entrance fee and met up with Lil Rich the site manager and James (Hotspur) who was busy volunteering. We spent a good half hour or so enjoying a warming cuppa and watching the very close range roosting Woodcock waiting for the birds to return to the feeders after a Sparrowhawk had been through (or was sitting there somewhere), eventually the birds started coming back and amongst the many Chaffinch (including a male double the size of the other males), Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow and Tits was a couple of smart male Bramblings, both targets from here scored!

A walk around the reserve looking at all of the site improvements underway resulted in the main targets, the two redhead Smew (presumably a female/1st winter and a 1st winter male), they showed really well, with other bits seen including Pintail and most of the common waterfowl. A possible day-roosting Tawny Owl almost got us all!!! A few winter thrushes were seen moving about, a sign of things to come??? Back at the visitors centre the Water Rail was showing itself under the bird feeders! This ended a really nice day out with 4 strategic year tick! Thanks to James and Rich for the company.

The two 'red-head' Smew at Watton Borrow Pits, fairly distantly just before they moved over to the far pool. One bird is considered to be a 1st winter male, the other is presumably a first winter female.